Emilia Clarke Says Aneurysm Recovery Was ‘Remarkable’

Emilia Clarke. Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

After first detailing her experiences with two life-threatening brain aneurysms in 2019, Emilia Clarke has now further opened up about her health. Speaking to BBC One’s Sunday Morning ahead of her West End debut in The Seagull, Clarke said her recovery was “remarkable,” specifically her ability to still speak afterward. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that,” she said. Clarke had her first aneurysm in 2011, and another in 2013 — both while starring in Game of Thrones, in which she played Daenerys Targaryen. “It was incredibly helpful to have Game of Thrones sweep me up and give me that purpose,” she said of her recovery.

In 2019, Clarke wrote for The New Yorker that she “sipped on morphine” during a publicity tour after a surgery and was in “constant worry” over what brain functions she’d lose. She also discussed the emotional pain of experiencing temporary aphasia due to her first aneurysm, and said she at one point couldn’t remember her own name. Now, though, she looks back at the experience differently, laughing as she told the BBC that “there’s quite a bit missing” of her brain (due to how the brain recovers from a lack of blood). “I thought, Well, this is who you are. This is the brain that you have,” she added. “So there’s no point in continually racking your brains about what might not be there.”

Clarke also previously told the BBC that starring in The Seagull and the upcoming Marvel series Secret Invasion is keeping her busy enough, shooting down hopes that she’d return to Kit Harington’s Game of Thrones spinoff Snow. While assuring fans the show would be “certified by Kit Harington,” she said she thinks she’s “done” playing Daenerys.

Emilia Clarke Says Aneurysm Recovery Was ‘Remarkable’